GPR is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface. This Non-Destructive method uses electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band (UHF/VHF Frequencies) of the radio spectrum, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures.
GPR can have applications in variety of media, including rock, soil, ice, freshwater, pavements and structures. In the right conditions,practitioners can use GPR to detect subsurface objects, changes in material properties, voids and cracks.
GPR uses high-frequency (usually polarized) radio waves, usually in the range 10 MHz to 2.6 GHz. A GPR transmitter emits electromagnetic energy into the ground. When the energy encounters a buried object or a boundary between materials having permittivities, it may be reflected or refracted or scattered back to the surface. A receiving antenna can then record the variations in the return signal. The principles involved are similar to seismology, except GPR methods implement electromagnetic energy rather than acoustic energy, and energy may be reflected at boundaries where subsurface electrical properties change rather than subsurface mechanical properties as is the case with seismic energy.
One of the main applications for ground-penetrating radar is locating underground utilities. Standard electromagnetic induction utility locating tools require utilities to be conductive. These tools are ineffective for locating plastic conduits or concrete storm and sanitary sewers. Since GPR detects variations in dielectric properties in the subsurface, it can be highly-effective for locating non-conductive utilities.
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